Faulty wiring believed cause behind deadly nightclub fire

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The death toll from a fire that gutted a popular nightclub rose to 42 on Monday, though police said it was likely more bodies would be found inside the building.

Some people leapt to their deaths from the top of the four-floor karaoke bar in the provincial capital of Palembang as flames engulfed the roof Sunday night, police Capt. Arum Prioyono said.

Crews also blew a hole in a wall of the karaoke bar to allow desperate patrons to escape.

Police confirmed 42 deaths, but Lt. Tikno of the Palembang police force said he believed more bodies remained in the burned-out building.

Rudi, a fire brigade official who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said rescuers had retrieved 52 bodies.

The blaze started late Sunday and is believed to have been caused by a faulty electrical installation. It was extinguished Monday morning.

Palembang is an industrial city about 250 miles northwest of Jakarta.

In June 1998, a fire swept through a crowded shopping center there, killing 19 people.

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